Can your school budget afford a £10,000 contribution to someone else’s phone bill?

rules can be reset at any time, simply by accessing the application through your browser and administration tool.

System healthcheck, for free! Another benefit of InGuard is that, upon installation, the application runs a program that will scan your telephone system for weaknesses and high-risk areas, where potential hackers could gain access. It will also check:

• usernames and passwords, to ensure that they are not set to default


he burden on schools’ budgets is continually in the news, with pressure to spend more wisely and avoid unnecessary outlay. But one increasingly common and insidious cost most often goes unreported – telephone fraud.

£1.2bn cost for business in the UK, increasing by 15% year-on-year

Telephone system hacking, or Toll Fraud as it is known, is a huge problem with the UK being the 3rd most targeted country, with unreclaimable costs running at £1.2bn in 2015, and the average cost per incident at a staggering £10,000. Whilst most organisations don’t realise that there is a threat, research shows that 84% of UK businesses are estimated to be open to hacking. The worst thing is that schools are considered to be particularly vulnerable to this type of fraud, (according to Action Fraud, the UK’s national internet crime reporting centre), because they have wi-fi systems, large budgets and long periods of ‘down time’, e.g. Summer Holidays. And whilst the average loss to schools, as reported by Action Fraud for the period 2012- 2016, is £1,683 per school, individual cases can be much higher.

Once the telephone system has been hacked, fraudulent calls are set up and routed through your telephone system, and then sold on the ‘black market’. And the very fact that this is generally done ‘out-of-hours’ or outside of school hours means that it is often not detected immediately and can remain undetected until you receive your next telephone bill. The sad thing is that these costs are not reclaimable, so victims are saddled with a large bill for the unauthorised access.

Incorrectly configured firewalls, poor security settings, lack of maintenance and the use of default/easy passwords allow quick access for the hackers. Unused telephone ports do not need a telephone to be plugged in, in order to be vulnerable – for instance, voicemail boxes can have outside access for notifications which, if not password protected, can be vulnerable to hacking, as can unused voicemail extensions. Other features that can be vulnerable are auto- attendant ports, remote access maintenance ports and DDIs all very common within a school environment.

What protection is available? One answer is InGuard, a unique application developed by NEC. InGuard is designed to be embedded into your telephone system processor, removing the need for additional hardware, such as a PC or server costs. It is accessed via your web browser, so you have full control over your own system security.

It works by monitoring call activity, 24/7/365 and if anything suspicious is detected it immediately sends an email alert. By replying to the email, you can decide to either block or allow the activity to continue, or, if you prefer, you can have the system make the decision and automatically take action.

So, what is Toll Fraud?

Toll fraud is an attempt by a hacker to gain access to your telephone system, via remote access, mostly for the purposes for setting up ‘black market’ international or premium rate telephone call access. Hackers gain access via remote maintenance, voicemail or SIP ports, generally out of hours, so that the fraud initially goes unnoticed and unreported.

January 2018

It is so easy to set up and administer. You start by purchasing a lifetime licence, from an approved NEC dealer, such as Dataphone, a leading provider of IT and telephone systems to the Education sector, and the application is then designed to fit your needs.

In this way, InGuard not only protects you against external hacking and fraud, but also against any internal misuse. Once set up, these

Contact Dataphone on 08000 14 24 75 or visit 35

• your extension numbers, including any unused ones

• remote settings, for any external extensions you may have

• call forward and external transfer settings • auto-attendant (as this can be vulnerable if not ‘locked down’

Dataphone – experts in school communications

As a recognised problem, and with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau warning schools to take action, Dataphone offers a ‘Fraud protection service’ on all lines they supply. Working with schools for almost 30 years Dataphone is an approved partner for The Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL), formally NASBM, and can support schools with the issues of Toll Fraud as well as Cost Neutrality Programmes to upgrade their telecoms infrastructure.

For a free health check on your telecoms infrastructure why not challenge Dataphone to do better for your school.

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